Fostering Community Connections Through FYS Student Networking

The FYS Student Networking Event is the only cross-divisional event in the First Year Experience My Campus Events series. Originally co-designed with valuable input by the late Judith Gazzola, the event offered new-to-college (day and evening) students, a chance to check-in about their LaGuardia experience at mid-semester with faculty and professional advisors interested in their success.

Participant nametags. Student populations that participants identify with are indicated by color-coded circles corresponding to the respective population identified with.


Since then, it has evolved into a collaborative event between Academic and Student Affairs, whichexplicitly engages students in networking and fostering connections with the larger college community. The Spring 2019 FYS Student Networking Event took place on April 10th, from 3:30-6:30 pm

Event volunteers, including VPS, deans, advisors, faculty, staff and peer mentors, interact with student attendees through an icebreaker that asks all involved to select and include any of the following student populations they identify with on their nametag:  “first-semester”, “first-generation college student”, “bilingual” and “transfer”.

While connecting with volunteers over common experiences and developing important networking skills, students talk about their experience at LaGuardia, i.e. what is going well, their interests and what they might need help with.

This conversation leads to students learning about college resources and services, e.g. Center for Career & Professional Development, the Wellness Center, ePortfolio Scholars, etc. all strategically positioned around the perimeter of the event space. Students are encouraged to follow up with anyone in their new network.

Raffle prizes also highlight the larger college community and have included LPAC tickets, Wellness Center sessions, and lunch with a VP and deans.


Student Technology Mentor Shiven Nayee networks with peers.


Some of the excerpts from qualitative data collected are noteworthy. Responses to the question “How do you feel about being a LaGuardian, at this point in the semester?” included “I feel I am part of a community and I know where to go when I need help.”; “It feels awesome. Everyone is so welcoming.”; and “I enjoy all the support given at this school.”

Students learn about the America Needs You fellowship offered in partnership with the LaGuardia Center for Career and Professional Development.


The feedback suggests that students embrace the prospect of deepening their connection to their new college, though we realize that not all students know how to do this. How else can we foster these connections?  What can we do as a college to better support an understanding of what it means to be a successful LaGuardia student?

If this is of interest to you and you’d like to share your ideas or join us at the next event, My LaGuardia Network, on Wednesday, October 23, 2:30-5 pm, please contact the organizers: Estefany Gonzaga, Vanessa Gonzalez-Figuereo, and Ellen Quish.

Student Success Mentor Program Coordinator Estefany Gonzaga talks to our youngest Networker- the child of a student participant. It’s never too early to start networking!

Dean Bart Grachan of Student Affairs and Oscar Cortes of the Center for Teaching networking with a student.